With Gas Prices Averaging $3.45 a Gallon, 2 Senators Propose Halting Tax

As gas prices continue to rise, a number of Democratic Senators are calling for a suspension on the federal gas tax for the rest of this year to help consumers amid the high costs.

Arizona Senator Mark Kelly and New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan proposed a pause on the federal gas tax, as the average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. is over $3.45 a gallon, according to AAA, and could even rise higher. Four other Democratic senators signed on as co-sponsors.

Consumers across the country are struggling with rising costs from the soaring inflation rate. Increased costs of goods at the grocery store and higher prices at the gas pumps have been putting a strain on people's wallets.

The Gas Price Relief Act would eliminate the 18 cents per gallon gas tax until January 1, 2023. Currently, the cost for a gallon of gas is nearly one dollar more than it was the same time last year, per AAA.

"We need to continue to think creatively about how we can find new ways to bring down costs, and this bill would do exactly that, making a tangible difference for workers and families," Hassan said in a press statement.

To cover for the loss in gas tax revenue, the Treasury Department would take money out of the general fund and transfer it into the Highway Trust Fund to keep it solvent if the bill gets passed.

The proposed legislation would also require the Secretary of the Treasury Department to monitor the program to make sure the oil and gas companies are passing along the savings at the pumps to the consumers.

Several other states have been pursuing similar fuel tax relief. Land Line magazine reported at least 10 other states have suggested potential legislation to change how much gas tax can continue to be collected. These states include California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee, and Washington.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker proposed a similar plan to freeze taxes on gas. That would consist of keeping the gas tax at about 39.2 cents per gallon for one year. The proposal also includes stopping the 1 percent groceries sales tax and giving homeowners a property tax credit. The overall plan could save Illinois families an estimated $1 billion, Newsweek previously reported.

Hassan said the purpose of the Gas Price Relief Act is to help people get a break from the rising prices while filling up their tanks. "People are feeling a real pinch on everyday goods, and we must do more to help address rising costs, particularly the price of gas."

Update 2/9/22, 10:13 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.

Senators Propose Pause on Gas Tax
FILE - Fuel is pumped into a vehicle, Thursday, June 14, 2012, in Miami. Two Democratic senators are calling for suspending the federal gas tax for the remainder of 2022 to help consumers struggling with rising fuel prices Lynne Sladky/AP Photo